Choosing HR software is an important business decision, with strategic and long-term implications. The drafting of a request for proposals is one of the key elements for the success of the whole project. When you cannot decide which of the solutions on the market is right for your company’s needs, the complexity of HR processes in your organization is great, or you got stuck in conflicting comparisons and opinions about features, the best decision is to draft an internal brief summarizing all your company’s needs, and, on its basis, to initiate the process of creating a request for proposals. We invite you to read further on what this process involves and how to make sure it will go smoothly.
An HR platform can be quite complex software, and it is unlikely to identify “from the first” the perfect application for your company. As such, a multi-step approach is recommended, to help you get all the relevant information before making the decision.
Step 1 – Identify your internal needs and prepare a first draft brief for vendors, defining the automation needs of your HR department.
Step 2 – Starting from this draft brief, you can first contact all HR solution vendors that seem to offer software that suits your automation needs. Use a “Request for Information” (RFI) tool that centralizes your business needs and collects vendors’ capabilities. Responses should already give you relevant details about addressing business flows and the technology component used.
Step 3 – After getting the first wave of information, a period of meetings with potential vendors, discussions, questions, and solution testing is recommended. It is desirable to have a short list of 3 potential partners, with which to proceed to in-depth discussions.
Step 4 – To make the final selection, it is a good idea to get the most complete picture, including details about the HR software solution – in terms of relevance to your HR processes and the technology that is being developed, along with business terms. This is the time to write specifications and request a firm offer – “Request for Proposal” (RFP). The specifications transpose needs into project requirements and objectives; request firm information concerning budgets, delivery times, technical specifications, and implementation means. The commitments undertaken here will be part of the contract.
When writing a request for proposal for HR software vendors, your company should involve all major stakeholders in the process and include members from various departments such as HR, IT and procurement.
You will also want to make a clear distinction between roles and tasks, such as:
You do not want to hurry with the completion of the request-for-proposal process, but you do not want a delay, which would shift the next steps of the HR process digitization. Analyze each step in the request-for-proposal process and try to determine exactly the time needed to accomplish each action / task.
For example, you want to make sure that you provide vendors with a long enough period to ask questions and clarify any doubts about your company’s application, or that you have enough time to test the available software solutions. Then, once the time for questions has ended, you must make sure that vendors have enough time to give you a detailed response.
Before submitting the request for proposals, make sure that the project committee members have identified your company’s needs in terms of HR software and that you have made a clear distinction between the required features and those that you only want for “the sake” of having them. The delineation between needs and desires will help you determine the characteristics that will be the basis for choosing a winning vendor.
The elements to be included in a request for proposals are:
The project committee should compare your company’s needs with the solutions provided by the HR software vendors on the market, so they can make a list of vendors that will be invited to participate in the evaluation and selection process.
To find these prospects, you can do online searches, ask for recommendations from partners or consultants, or request suggestions from members of the project committee. All listed vendors will receive the initial request for information, and then, those selected on the short list, will receive detailed specifications and firm requests for proposals with commercial implications.
Once you have selected your potential vendors and the list is complete, you must decide how you will share the news in the market: by mail, post or courier, or publish directly on the company’s website that you are looking for an HR software vendor. Whichever option you choose to submit your request for proposals, make sure you highlight the deadline for responses.
Each response received from vendors should be evaluated individually at first. Once all members of the project committee have set their own rating, you should set up a meeting where you compare the results and evaluate the alternatives together.
Both after receiving the first market information and before making the final decision, it is advisable to conduct interviews with vendors. Keep in mind that most likely, when you start this process, you do not know exactly what to expect. Face-to-face discussions with HR experts can reveal key aspects of the implementation process that you have not considered, but which may be critical to the success of your implementation. During interviews, you can ask more questions about their implementation process and ask them to show you how their solution would evolve once your company grows and when new technologies emerge.
Since all vendors have spent time responding to your request, it is advisable to notify all prospects of your decision, regardless of the response. It is in your interest to mention all the features and aspects that have convinced you to decide on the winning provider.
We want you to be sure you are making the best decision, so we have prepared a guide that will help you identify, evaluate and select the HR software solution for your company.